CALLER: Dittos, Rush, from a mom with five boys on the very Left Coast of California. It’s an honor to talk with you. I wanted to —
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: Thank you. I wanted to pick up on something you said earlier about can conservatism win or are we just holding back the liberal tide. And I think there’s two issues there. One is probably a religious issue about how people view just kind of the End Times, but the other issue goes to something that you said back in the eighties about Bill Clinton. And I think fundamentally you pointed out that there is a shift in the way we view politics.
When he went through the Monica Lewinsky scandal, it no longer was about policies or nobility or even serving the public, but it became win at all costs. And that’s the first time I think conservatives, we knew media was in the bag for liberals, but it became blatant, and I think since then there’s been a demoralizing. You talked about this even recently: A demoralizing of those of us that are conservatives.
And I feel like I don’t generally… I’m an economics teacher so I used to love to engage in political conversations with my friends, and it was great. But now I feel like there’s no listening to each other because it is a win-at-all-cost type of mentality. So I just want to know… I love that you’re so optimistic, but what would you say to someone living in California who feels like most of the time I don’t even engage in political conversation anymore?
RUSH: Well, you’re so vastly outnumbered in California —
CALLER: I know. Yeah.
RUSH: — that I think it’s probably tough to have politics be one of the foundational aspects of friendship or relationship you have with people.
RUSH: And what you mean by win at all costs… I know what you mean. It’s an intolerance.
RUSH: What you’re really talking about is an intolerance —
RUSH: — for opposing points of view even to the point of admitting somebody disagrees with you has other human characteristics that might be admirable and worth spending time with. People disqualify each other on the basis of their political beliefs — disqualified from friendship, relationships, or what have you. And, in California, you’re so vastly outnumbered. There isn’t a Republican Party, for all intents and purposes, there.
RUSH: And so you… I understand the challenge.
RUSH: If politics happens to be or political subjects happen to be the formative basis on which you have relationships, then you are gonna have a narrow or a small universe of people that you can hang with, because we’ve gotten to the point now where the left has become so — (sigh) I don’t know what the term is — intolerant that there is almost an automatic attempt to shame and impugn and embarrass publicly, rather than set that aside and find other things to have in common. I understand if you’re running into that, doesn’t surprise me. But, anyway, you don’t want to miss what’s coming up about this.
RUSH: It was just two days ago that I shared with you an op-ed piece, a long column that I had found at the Claremont Review of Books website called The Flight 93 Election. And if you missed it, the basic summary of the column is written by a conservative intellectual who thinks that Donald Trump is the only hope we have in stopping the inexorable decline and march to transformation of the United States.
He writes a column here chastising his fellow intellectual conservatives who are Never Trumpers. And he shames them. And each paragraph is an explosion of varying strength. Some paragraphs are sticks of dynamite. Others are, you know, one stick. Others are potential nuclear explosions in the degree to which he is criticizing and attacking them. And he challenges their motivation. He challenges their legitimacy.
He asks: What are you in this for? Are you a conservative just to keep your fundraising avenues open? Are you doing what you’re doing because you really care about the policy and the issues, or are you just doing it to earn a paycheck? Do you not realize you’re wearing the jersey of the Washington Generals. You’re in the establishment, you’re in the league, but your job is to lose. And if this keeps up, we’re finished. And if you don’t understand this, you better shape up real fast and realize it ’cause we’re in deep doo-doo.
Now, those are my words. The Flight 93 analogy essentially is that, in the view of the writer, who chose the name of an ancient Roman military commander, Publius Decius Mus, and I may not be pronouncing that right, could be Publius Decius Mus. Regardless, in his analogy, the United States is Flight 93. That’s the terrorist plane that was targeted to either the White House or Capitol Hill, but the passengers took over and it crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
In his analogy America is Flight 93. Donald Trump and his supporters are Todd Beamer and the passengers rushing the cockpit, trying to take it away from the terrorists. And Hillary Clinton and the Democrat Party and the military and the media and the whole establishment, they’re the hijackers. So the plane is American, it’s being hijacked by Hillary and the left and the Democrats for years and years and years now, and Trump is Todd Beamer. That’s the analogy.
And he says you got one of two choices when you’re in that situation. You do nothing and you’re guaranteed gonna die because the terrorists are gonna crash it somewhere, or you can rush the cockpit. You may still die, but at least you’ll die trying not to.
Now, the reaction to this piece by those to whom it was targeted has been predictable. It’s anger, outrage in some cases, they’re laughing at the guy and they’re claiming that he’s just way overboard. It’s an unjust and unwarranted piece. And I’ve chosen one piece here to bounce off, just really a couple paragraphs in this piece, ’cause when I read them, a lot of it, these two paragraphs, this piece is written — it’s in The Week, it’s at that website, the piece is by Damon Linker.
The last two paragraphs of this piece I read and thought, what in the hell is this? And I had to do some digging to understand where he’s coming from. So in order for you to understand what I’m gonna say, and I don’t mean this in a condescending way, much of modern conservatism is derived from Edmund Burke, intellectual conservatism, not the kind of conservatism where you get up every day and you try to follow the law, obey the law, you want small government, you want limited government, you want low taxes, you want self-reliance, rugged individualism, keep your kids as safe as you can, give them as good a future as you can, trying to improve your life. That kind of conservatism.
Intellectual conservatism, discussing and discovering the intellectual roots of the actual ideology trace back to a number of people, but Edmund Burke probably would be at the top of the tree. Edmund Burke, and many of you know, I’m just cluing in those who don’t. Edmund Burke was born in Dublin. He was an Irish statesman. He was an author. He was an orator, political theorist, philosopher. And he is renowned as widely regarded as the philosophical founder of modern conservatism.
He was a huge supporter of the American Revolution, Catholic emancipation, and he was adamantly opposed to the French revolution. In his mind, the French Revolution is actually the beginning of the modern iteration of liberalism or leftism as we know it today. But his writings and his philosophy are considered to be, if you want to know what conservatism really is in the intellectual exercise, you go consult Burke.
So I’m reading this piece by Damon Linker at TheWeek.com. Its headline is: “Here’s the Most Powerful (and Chilling) Case for Trump You’ll Ever Hear.” And he describes the piece as radical, the premise, Flight 93 Election, radical, everything in this is radical, including its support for Trump, it’s radical. And in the interests of time and cutting to the chase, I want to get to the last two paragraphs of his piece.
“All of this,” meaning the column, the Flight 93 election, “All of this would merely be one anonymous man’s personal revenge fantasy were it not for one singularly important point: Decius Mus is indisputably correct that the rhetoric devised and deployed by the conservative movement and Republican Party in recent years points in precisely this direction. Reactionary attacks on the status quo have encouraged reactionary judgments, provoked reactionary pessimism –” He’s describing you and me here, folks.
Reactionary attacks on the status quo. That’s you and me. Reactionary judgments on leftists and their issues, which has provoked reactionary pessimism. We’re pessimists. We’re doom-and-gloomers. Everything’s going to hell in a handbasket. We’re just a bunch of reactionaries, and it has “raised reactionary expectations — and the 2016 campaign is the stage on which the reactionary drama is now playing out, with Donald Trump in the starring role.
“Once the election is behind us, conservatives and Republicans who peddled this political poison –” conservatism is called political poison here because it is reactionary, reactionary attacks on the status quo encouraged reactionary judgments, reactionary pessimism, reactionary expectations. In other words, there’s nothing real about us. Everything we do is simply mind-numbed reaction. There’s no principle to us; there’s no reason to us. We’re just reacting and we’re hell-bent and we’re radical in the process.
“Once the election is behind us, conservatives and Republicans who peddled this political poison for years and then came to recognize too late the dangers posed by a potential Trump presidency will face a choice. Will they at long last rein in their rhetoric?” Meaning will we conservatives stop all this reactionary, incendiary speech, “Or will they keep at it, and risk a threat to the republic even greater than Donald Trump?”
So I read these two photographs. So I and practically every other conservative is not intellectual. We’re a bunch of reactionaries and we’re pessimists and we attack in a reactionary way, reactionary basis, and we have reactionary expectations? Where does this come from? So I had to dig deep. Of all the things I consider myself — look, I know that, and I’ve said so myself, we get up every day and we look at the latest example of the left taking the country off the cliff. And we do, we react to it. We try to stop it, but we’re so busy doing that we don’t have time to advance anything.
Now, in his view, in the writer’s view, this is an unhealthy reactionism. We’re trying to stop liberalism, and that’s not legitimate. Stopping liberalism, stopping the status quo, that’s unrealistic, that’s radical, that’s reactionary. So the very basis of modern conservatism, which is stopping the onward march of liberalism, in this guy’s opinion, is reactionary radicalism. I said, “Whoa. What must you think if that’s how you view us?” So attempting to explain that is my next chore when we get back.
RUSH: Okay. Now, to react to this — and, by the way, the modern definition of a “reactionary” is anybody who wants go back to the time before whatever the current political situation is. That’s a leftist definition of “reactionary.” So if you think the last eight years of Obama and leftist domination are destroying the country and you want to visit something back before all this happened, you are a reactionary, in their minds.
Now, Burke argued that respect for tradition and a predisposition against anti-establishmentarianism and revolutionary new modes of thinking were part of the conservative temperament. And Burke is considered the godfather of modern conservatism. So if Burke thinks that a predisposition against anti-establishmentarianism and revolutionary, in other words, Burke considers what we’re doing now to be bad and wrong then it gets the endorsement of the left.
“Hey, your own guy Burke thinks what you’re thinking is wrong!” So the argument goes. While the left seeks radical change, the job of the conservative is not to reject the left. Instead, it is to steady the ship and make sure that the left doesn’t steer us into the abyss. The assumption is that liberalism will dominate, that liberalism will win, because it’s morally/intellectual superior. The conservative movement is there not to defeat it but to make sure it just stays on course.
Maybe slow it down a little bit but certainly not to oppose it. So society… In the view of the leftists, society is on a permanent ratchet, a permanent shift to the left. A conservative is someone who gently applies the brakes in order to slow them down. But never, never stop it. If you want to stop leftists, you’re a reactionary. You’re irresponsible. You’re a radical. “You’re not supposed to stop us! We’re who and what is.”
We’re just supposed to accept the welfare state. We are supposed to accept globalization. We are supposed to accept the shredding of constitutional liberties by the courts and by the Democrats. Our job is to run progress — all of this is called “progress” — more efficiently. We’re not to reverse this, because to reverse this would be to revolt, and Burke did not say revolt. And since Burke is opposed to revolting, as in the French Revolution, well, then it can’t be conservative.
So essentially guys like the guy that wrote this piece and people that want to oppose the Flight 93 analogy… Essentially they define conservatism as liberalism light, and you can see it in the modern Republican Party. Democrats propose something, and the Republican agree with a portion of it. Be it health care, be it amnesty. The Democrats set the agenda. The Republicans never say “no;” the conservative intellectuals never say “no.” They just say, “We’re smarter!
“We can do it better.” Conservative intellectuals today see the people have voted. They want a Big Government, they want a strong executive. “But they want us, conservative intellectuals, to run it, because we’re smarter!” So there is… So those of us, myself included, who want to stop this, who want to roll this back and want to beat it? We are violating modern conservative tenets — according to conservative intellectualism and the left — and we are “reactionary.” We’re supposed to accept all this.
So in short, they define conservatism as liberalism light. Anything else — anything that demands conforming to the Constitution and the traditions and institutions of America as founded — is radical and reactionary. Liberalism, “progressivism” is the natural, progressive, positive change away from the founding as we modernize and as we adapt to ever-changing world circumstances defined and dominated by liberalism. And to stop that is pigheaded.
It’s small-bedded, it’s small-minded, and it’s reactionary — and that’s how this piece is viewed by people on the left and even conservative intellectuals. So when we argue for limited government and fidelity to the Constitution, we’re not supposed to really mean it. If we really mean it, we’re kooks. We’re so devoid of reality. “It’s just rhetoric that we’re using to persuade the rubes (i.e., voters) that they should invest in us,” and that’s a short little lesson on what all of this actually means.